Interview NoViolet Bulawayo

Writing about Women at the Margins: An Interview with NoViolet Bulawayo

The Zimbabwean novelist NoViolet Bulawayo, a group of her friends and I are at Buka, a Nigerian restaurant in Brooklyn, and we are surrounded by fish heads, fufu, fish stew, fresh ginger juice, yam fries, and plantains. Around us, there is a little girl with wild braids jumping up and down, trying to reach a painting on the wall. She is grabbing at my hand, asking me to ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Week

Erica Wagner's "Life and death at his fingertips: watching a brain surgeon at work" in The New Statesman This was published last month, but it popped up on my radar this week, and I'm very glad it did. On one level, it's a riveting portrait of a neurosurgeon. Wagner writes fluently about a world that's fascinating but entirely alien to me; at one point, observing a ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Week

"It's Always Spilling Over the Edges": Jamie Green interviews Leslie Jamison on BuzzFeed I've been loving Leslie Jamison's essays from her new collection, The Empathy Exams, that have come out recently in The Believer and Harper's. They're narratives that plunge into the frustrating world of doctor-patient communication and the vulnerability of a patient's narrative. ... [Continue Reading]

brighton-starlings

Crafting Memoir and “Doing Grief”: An Interview with Melanie Bishop

This week's guest writer, Melanie Bishop, was one of my first writing teachers at Prescott College, a small liberal arts and environmental school in Arizona. Here’s what I remember about my writing classes with Melanie: There would be ten, maybe twelve of us sitting around a table, a common manuscript in hand, intently discussing craft. We were just as engaged in that ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Year: 2013

It's that time of year, the time of Bests and Mosts and pretty much any superlative you can think of that will fit in a quick headline. At Vela, we've scoured all of our Women We Read this Week posts from 2013, and have compiled a list of our favorite nonfiction featured this year in our weekly column. And it turns out we've got a lot of love for these women writers we've ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Week

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah's "If He Hollers Let Him Go" on The Believer How do you write a profile about someone you never get to interview? Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah's smart, articulate examination of comedian Dave Chappelle tells us the answer is to investigate the effects that person has on others, the ripples they make. By looking closely at the cultural influences and ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Week

Claire Messud interviewed by Alex Clark in The Guardian I've come late to Claire Messud: I picked up The Last Life on a whim last weekend - it was on a table piled high with paperbacks for sale at the farmers' market, and I brought it home and fell right into it, full of remarkably un-jealous admiration. Here, interviewed by Alex Clark, Messud speaks about her latest ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Week

"The Rumpus Interview With Rachel Kushner" on The Rumpus After reading The Flamethrowers, I developed a massive lady writer crush on Rachel Kushner, and this interview only stoked the flames. What I love most is her absolute refusal to reduce a very complex novel into a specific argument or interpretation. Instead she insists that the book stand for itself: "there is no ... [Continue Reading]

EagleBio

On the Move in Mongolia: An Interview With Shebana Coelho

Shebana Coelho is a writer, director and filmmaker, who has produced radio and TV documentaries for BBC Radio Four, NPR’s On the Media, the Discovery Channel and Nickelodeon. She received a 2007 Fulbright grant to Mongolia to experience and record life in nomadic communities, and recently completed the radio documentary, On the Move in Mongolia, a series of sound ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read this Week

It's exciting and encouraging to note that two of the most significant and widely discussed stories this week were by female journalists. They're reviewed below. Jeanne Marie Laskas's "Have You Heard the One About President Joe Biden?" in GQ Jeanne Marie Laskas's latest piece for GQ could not open in a more Jeanne Marie Laskas way: "Keep going straight here," Joe ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Week

Nicole Pasulka's "Wanted: Macho Men With Moustaches" in The Believer I never spent a lot of time thinking about the cultural phenomenon of the Village People, or how such an incredibly gay group came to be embraced by mainstream America. By the time I came of age in the '90s Bay Area, songs like "Macho Man" and "YMCA" were cheesy jokes to be ripped off during Halloweens ... [Continue Reading]

freedom_of-speech

Freedom to Speak: An Interview with Sampsonia Way’s Silvia Duarte

In her essay “Forbidden,” this week’s guest writer, Katie Booth, writes about her experience teaching writing at a university in Guangzhou, China. As an American, she struggled to find texts that wouldn’t be seen as subversive in the eyes of the Chinese government. In the classroom, she skirted around words, unsure of what was acceptable or if she was making a ... [Continue Reading]

WomenWeReadImage

Women We Read This Week

Helen Hayward's "My children, my life," in Aeon Magazine In this thought-provoking personal essay, Hayward challenges the assumption that a woman can't dedicate herself equally to both her career and raising children. Hayward chose both, and loves both, even if it means working until late into the night, "accepting a double shift." I'm not a mother, so I can't speak ... [Continue Reading]

Screen-shot-2013-04-29-at-12.34.43-PM

Interview with Vela’s Featured Writer: Amy Butcher

You and I met a little over a year ago at Colgate University, when I was the out-going Olive B. O'Connor Fellow in Creative Nonfiction and you were the incoming. I remember that when I was packing up I had this deep fear that I might never again have so much validation and support as a writer, given the odds and the academic job market and all of those factors. But what ... [Continue Reading]

m-walking-copy

Featured Writer: Miranda Ward

1. You just wrote your first book, F**k the Radio, We've Got Apple Juice: Essays on a Rock n' Roll Band. Can you tell me a little about it, and your process in writing and publishing it? The book is ostensibly about music and musicians, but really it's about trying to make a living doing something you love, or trying to find a way to strike a balance between making a ... [Continue Reading]

alice_driver_filmmaking_juarez

Featured Writer: Alice Driver

Working on a short film project on the Mexican side of the border wall near the international crossing Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Copyright © 2013 Julián Cardona. 1. How did you end up in Mexico City? Can you talk about your trajectory as an academic? The day after I defended my dissertation at the University of Kentucky, I moved to Mexico City to volunteer at ... [Continue Reading]